Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

The Law is Not a Fringe Issue

Posted in Barack Obama, Bush, law, politics, torture, war crimes by allisonkilkenny on April 30, 2009

abu-ghraib-torture-715244Barbara Herbert, a course director at Tufts University School of Medicine, made a short, but compelling plea in today’s New York Times. Herbert argued that the United States government should convene a truth and reconciliation commission, using the one in South Africa as a model, to investigate into possible crimes committed by the Bush administration. 

Such a commission would allow a nation to (a) find the truth of what happened from multiple perspectives, (b) develop an understanding of how it happened and (c) heal.

A commission isn’t some kind of partisan booby trap thrown together in a frenzied quest for retribution as Harry Reid suggested last week. The formation of a nonpartisan commission also wouldn’t  act as a nefarious tool to dismantle the foundation of The American Way (corrupting the sweet “mysteries” of life,) as Bush apologists like Peggy Noonan claim

A truth commission would use the law as a compass, and its only goal would be to restore order in America. As Herbert wrote, “We need a chance for secular redemption and healing.”

On Tuesday, Jeremy Scahill reported that Rep. John Conyers, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder officially requesting  the appointment of an independent Special Prosecutor to “to investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute torture committed against detainees during the Bush administration.” In order to restore credibility to the Justice Department, Holder must adhere to the rule of law, and not partisan demands. He must investigate into possible crimes committed under the Bush administration.

The law is not a fringe issue. Progressives may be the ones demanding an investigative commission, but the issue at stake here is the law itself. That’s not a partisan issue. The law should be sacred to all Americans: Republicans and Democrats. And if Democrats are proven to have been complicit in torture, then they too must be punished according to the law. 

Otherwise, Americans will learn only one lesson: the law does not apply to our leaders. What a terrible lesson to teach young Americans.

4 Responses

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  1. Lamont Cranston said, on May 3, 2009 at 9:18 am

    This’ll turn into the Iran-Contra hearings or the Watergate non-issue: a big show of sound and fury that ultimately creates a lot of confusion, misdirection, obfuscation and the buck being passed down to the lowest rung possible.
    A cover up.

  2. […] impending conflict, Davis Brooks is “elite and clueless”, and that Douglas Feith (among other former Bush officials) are war criminals. Shlaes failed to find these other, better examples of […]

  3. Dave S said, on May 12, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Good article. I personally think we should push for a special prosecutor, but at least a truth commission would be something (and the GOP’s approval rating would finally hit single digits).

    One request: please don’t use the phrase “all Americans, Republicans and Democrats.” Many Americans are neither. The most painful use of this phrase in recent memory was in RFK Jr’s foreword to Greg Palast’s “Steal back your vote”, where he wrote that election integrity is important to all Americans, whether Republican or Democrat. He wrote that, even though the 2004 Ohio recount that uncovered rampant election tampering was paid for and conducted by Greens and Libertarians, something that Palast surely knows. And there are a lot of folks in no party at all.

  4. allisonkilkenny said, on May 12, 2009 at 8:17 am

    Thanks Dave! Thanks for the kind words. I’m very aware that millions of Americans don’t consider themselves Republicans or Democrats (I’m one of them.) However, I meant that the law should be sacred to all Americans, and additionally, all Republicans, and Democrats i.e. everyone. I see how you interpreted it differently, though, and I agree with your larger point.

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